Deaf Havana I have to say, at the outset, that up until the week of this gig I have never listened to any output by the main band on this tour. They had been recommended to me by my stepson who is a big fan. So I gave them a listen and, apart from the early more screamy stuff I really quite liked them. So it was with a certain amount of anticipation that myself and said stepson turned up to Leeds Beckett for Deaf Havana.


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Public Service Broadcasting Public Service Broadcasting arrive in Leeds halfway through the UK leg of the tour promoting their third album, Every Valley. Recorded in Ebbw Vale it’s an album specifically about the South Wales mining industry although it can easily be translated to include not only any UK coal field but any industry in the Western World. It’s a chronological album taking us from when coal was king, through the miners’ strike to pit closures and finally onto how a community copes when its lifeline has been taken away.


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Live from Times Square Inner City music events seem to be de-rigeur for a lot of Britain’s cities and the ‘Toon is not one to be left out of a trend! This particular event was interestingly called “Live from Times Square” and although it was not the New York square made famous by New Year, it was certainly busy busy and eager with anticipation for the bands of the evening…. The Old Pink House, Dream Wife, Public Service Broadcasting, The Cribs and headliners the Manic Street Preachers - that and it was sold out and it was Saturday night in Newcastle which, if you don’t know, is always a damn good party.


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The Stanley Clarke Band I have been to the Brudenell Social Club quite a few times now, mostly to indie bands that are either breaking it through or are making a big noise on the “scene”…. So tonight when I drew up towards the club, for it is a club (think workingman's club not Studio 54 - yes really) I thought there must be somebody else on as well as the fabulous Stanley Clarke, after all, who would queue round the block to see an obscure jazz bass player?


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Beautiful Day Out "A Beautiful Day Out" – you couldn’t wish to find a more aptly named gig. Five quality bands on a glorious sunny afternoon in the best outdoor venue I’ve ever witnessed.


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Dropkick Murphys Sometime in the mid-late 80s I entered Rock City for the first time for what I always maintained was the sweatiest gig I’ve ever been to (Georgia Satellites). Admittedly 19 year old me was front and centre and having a good old mosh. The older, more damaged, me was stood at the back for this one yet still ended the gig drenched with sweat. It was a veritable sauna in there. Admittedly one with bodies flying everywhere in a joyous celebration of one of the greatest proponents of Celtic/Punk there has ever been. I rather think the young me would have had a new sweatiest gig. Dropkick Murphys have brought their juggernaut of a live show steaming once again into a sold out Rock City.


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Arcade Fire The headlines were huge, one of the biggest bands in the world were coming to play in Scunthorpe, yes Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, in England. Arcade Fire hadn’t played in England for nearly 3 years and now they were breaking that drought with a trip to Scunthorpe. Up to this point dear Reader Scunthorpe had really only been known as the butt of many a joke, but on the 7th June 2017 they were hosting one of the biggest bands on the planet. Who would have believed it !


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Black Spiders So where to start with this one. Well the parental advisory message may be both apt and too late but nevertheless anyone of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now. Sometime last year Black Spiders announced they were to be no more. One last gig was planned and that was to be it. The fans clamoured for more and eventually Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby kicked in the door of their collective padded cell and unleashed his Spiders on the UK one last time. An eight date "F*** Off Black Spiders" Final Tour.


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Skinny Lister It’s the second night of Skinny Lister’s headline, sold out UK tour on the back of third album 'The Devil, The Heart & The Fight'. Skinny Lister always seem to be gigging. I have no idea when they find the time to write and record new material but they manage it and the quality never slips. Their third album is glossier and more polished than 'Down On Deptford Broadway' and 'Forge & Flagon' but it still has that distinctive Skinny Lister feel. Punk Shanties I think has to be the accepted Lister genre. Certainly live the new songs get the full on SL treatment.


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Blossoms As a callow youth I thought I was too cool for support bands. That changed sometime in the ‘90s when I discovered that the band I missed out on supporting Inspiral Carpets was a fledgling Oasis, going under the moniker Rain. Now sometimes it just can’t be helped. I was at a wedding yesterday which meant by the time we got to the O2 we’d already missed Rory Wynne. Cabbage have been on my must see list for some time but despite my promises to myself I always keep missing them. I did manage to catch 5 minutes of them once supporting Blossoms at The Leadmill. This time I was determined to catch the full set. Failed..


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Frank Turner Anyone who knows me will know I love a good name drop so let’s get that out of the way first. I was lucky enough to be involved with a live interview with Frank Turner on Sine FM the afternoon of the gig. I mention this not only for shameful name dropping but also because one of the things we touched on was support acts for the tour. Frank hand picks his support acts and they are invariably worth watching.


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Airbourne A lot of long hair, black shirts, and too much leather in the streets could only mean one thing: Rock’n’roll was back in town. Tonight it took the form of the spectacular Aussie hard-rockers Airbourne, who were supported by the equally energetic and powerful Crobot and The Franklys.


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Skinny Lister ut that was when Skinny Lister were the support act… tonight they were headlining and I have to say they pulled it off magnificently. From the rabble rousing voices to the folk-punk sounds and emotions, every member of the audience was mesmerised… either that or they were just waiting for Lorna, their female co-lead singer, to pass round the huge flagon of Rum she was carrying. Yes folks, Skinny Lister don’t just get the audience in the mood with their music they also give them a little nip of Rum to warm the cockles.


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The Icicle Works Early start for this one but Ian McNabb doesn’t mess about when it comes to playing live. The first time I saw him (solo acoustic set) he informed us to phone the babysitter to let them know we’d be late. Tonight the current Icicle Works line up is on stage for 8pm and leave at around 11pm. Even with a 15 minute break that’s serious value for money.


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